Networking events are a great in-road to forging useful new business relationships and keeping up to date with the latest industry and cross-industry developments. It’s a competitive market, however, and the level of planning required to hold a successful professional networking event is on par with the demands of both a corporate and social event.
Light refreshments and beverages can make guests feel more at ease while working the room and introducing themselves, and they’ve even been shown to boost attendance, but don’t lose sight of what your event is all about. Remember, the goal is to get people to circulate in order to make valuable contacts, exchange ideas, and learn about new tools and practices in your industry, and it’s hard to do that if people are concentrating on filling and clearing plates of food or crowding around a bar all night.
A good rule of thumb is to restrict the refreshments to soft drinks, wine, and finger foods rather than anything requiring complicated orders or that must be eaten with a fork. If hiring staff is in your budget, having waiters circulate with pass-around trays of hors d’oeuvres and beverages is a great option. If not, a buffet setup with assorted small plates can work out quite nicely as well. Providing the different food items are small an uncomplicated (remember, no forks!), your event guests should have no problem getting a little nosh while still fully participating in conversations and activities.
What can be served often strongly depends on the type of facility you’ve chosen to host your corporate networking mixer venue. A traditional banquet hall or restaurant is an excellent choice as these locations already have kitchens and equipment that are functional and up to code. Many even employ their own chefs and waitstaff and can fully serve your event as part of your venue rental agreement. This keeps costs down and reduces the margin of error– there’s no need for an outside catering service to prepare the food offsite and then meet all the challenges of transporting and serving it in appetizing condition.
De Luxe Banquet Hall, a premiere special event venue in Burbank, CA boasts a fully equipped state-of-the-art kitchen with customized menu options and serving styles available including Mediterranean and new American cuisine. De Luxe’s 425-capacity ballroom and 50-capacity lounge areas provide the perfect spaces for large and small events in an opulent, inspiring setting.